BookBrowse Reviews The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

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The Garden of Small Beginnings

by Abbi Waxman

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman X
The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
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    May 2017, 368 pages

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Abbi Waxman's debut novel uses gardening as a metaphor for healing and for the awakening of one's senses to the cycle of life

All 19 of our Bookbrowse First Impression readers gave The Garden of Small Beginnings a 4+ star rating, resulting in an impressive average score of 4.7.

In short
The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman uses gardening as a metaphor for healing and for the awakening of one's senses to the cycle of life (Jan T). Three years after her husband's death, Lilian is adjusting to being a widow and mother of two precocious girls. While working as a text book illustrator, Lili is chosen to illustrate a gardening book. To acquaint herself with horticulture her employer asks her to take a course at a botanical garden. Her supportive sister and daughters join her in this venture, encountering a charming instructor and a group of quirky students who teach her about gardening, friendship and life along the way (Milda S).

Although it's a book about grief and the healing process, many readers ultimately found it amusing and uplifting
Abbi Waxman has written an amusing yet insightful book about being a widow (Michele N). The characters sparkle and it is laugh-out-loud funny (Virginia W). The gardening tips in particular are hilarious (Anna R). I enjoyed her use of personifying garden vegetables in the middle of her "how to grow" excerpts. She writes how it "freaks" strawberries out when planted near certain other vegetables (Rosemary S).

Beyond the book's humor, our reviewers almost universally thought it was well-written and entertaining
Once in a while a book comes along that is pure fun, and that is how I feel about The Garden of Small Things (Anna R). It's written in a breezy style (Martha S). The author brilliantly handles the challenge of telling a story that is simultaneously very funny and very sad (Jean B). It made me laugh and cry, sometimes in the same sentence (Michele N). I have about 20 pages with my favorite sections dog-eared, and they never fail to make me smile, even when I know what's coming (Alline A). Waxman's writing is vivid and relational – pulling you into every situation and making you feel that you are living it (Jill W). This is a treasure of a book that will both enrich and delight the reader (Milda S).

Many were sorry to see The Garden of Small Beginnings come to an end
I approached this book unsure I would like it but once I started reading I could not put it down and am very sorry when the book ended! It leaves you hoping that the story of Lili, Edward and their friends and family continues (Jill W). I can't wait to read Abbi Waxman's next literary venture (Francine E).

Widely recommended, particularly for those looking for lighter fare
Recommended for when you need a not-too-serious but still well-written and absolutely charming book! (Alline A). As I read this book, I was constantly making a mental note of all the readers I know who would love it as I did. The list was long, high praise for any book (Virginia W). I have been recommending The Garden of Small Beginnings to all my reading friends (Deborah M).

This review first ran in the May 31, 2017 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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